“Wait a minute. Stop. What do you mean Alex quit the Air Force? I’m sorry, but I made it ‘Facebook Official’ so you know that means it is set in stone. I bought all my gear – USA visor, USA Hip pack, a ton of American Flags, and a bumper sticker that says “Air Force Proud Mom”. I plastered about 10 pictures on Instagram and Facebook. We went to two ceremonies and a ribbon-cutting ceremony. I booked my hotel in San Antonio. You do know I can’t cancel the reservation. Okay, I can, but I don’t want to (insert stomping feet here). I am quite sure there is no going back after all that. He is not allowed to quit. Do you hear me, God?!”
It crushed my soul when Alex announced he was withdrawing from the Air Force right around May 15th. I begged him to reconsider. I cried a whole lot. I did what every millennium mom does and sent motivating texts, angry texts, desperate texts, and so on. “He can’t quit! Um, graduation party on June 18th and I already sent the invites out. What are people going to think?! The horror!!”
I did everything to stop it. I made him talk to seven adults, people in the military, and even our Youth Pastor. I prayed a lot. I dabbled in other practices out of desperation. I performed ablution to pray 5 times to Allah. I repeated mantras to Buddha. I pleaded to everything I could think of – even our dog, Honey. I grabbed her face and said, “What is he thinking?” I threw powder in the air like LeBron because if that is what gets him to the next level then surely it will work for me. I did everything short of sacrificing a baby lamb. I was this close but they are so darn cute.
“I failed as a mother. Didn’t I? Is it because I did a really crappy job when he was in his formative years? I wasn’t there to guide him during the most important times of his life and teach him how to follow through. I couldn’t protect him from things when he needed protection the most. He is only 18 years old and I set him up for failure. I set the tone and he is going to quit everything he does. I’m sure of it. I’m sorry I failed him and I am sorry I failed You.”
As fast as my words tried to guilt me into my perceived failures, my heart settled and peace washed over me after a month of torture. I released all guilt because it wasn’t about me. Well, what do you know – it isn’t always about me. Guilt has no resting place within these walls. What I had to do is let my baby bird fly. I have to let fear take over his body and cripple his decisions. He has to “fail” and “quit” and make “bad decisions” in life. I can’t protect him (or so I think I’m protecting him) from every single thing he will face or go through. One of my favorite quotes is “from our biggest failures come our greatest successes”. I’m pretty sure I made this quote up but I haven’t Googled it yet to confirm this. I learned this time after time and now it is time to pass on the torch. Time to trust the process and release it from my hands and give it to Him. Alex is going to be fine and will do great things. He won’t be perfect and it is going to be messy at times. There will be ebb and flow, pain, adversity, and downright difficult times. Don’t worry though because the “comeback” will blow our socks off. He will rise to the occasion (I’m sure of it because it is in our blood). There will be a time to overcome followed by tears of happiness! He will grow, stretch, and flourish. Then there will be opportunities to bring home the championship and slay it in the 7th game of the series.
I can’t wait to watch it all unfold because I live in faith (even when I try to test it) that everything is going to be okay…
“Wait, what is that? Alex is joining the Marine Corps?! Like, he got sworn in today, July 26th, at 1:00pm?! Crap, now I have to retrieve all my gear out of the garbage. Where is my credit card? I have to book the hotel near Parris Island. I’m going to go ahead and make it ‘Facebook Official’ if that is okay with you.”